Sue Has Problems With The "HOSTS" file
Hiya I love receiving your weekly newsletter an learning about my computer with all your tips and information. Keep up the good work. My question is really a cry for help!! I have the Hosts file notice popping up every time I turn on this machine. I have followed your instructions and deleted the correct Hosts file........only to find that the next time I turn the computer on, the notice pops up again, and on checking my files, the Host file is back in the drivers/etc., file in Windows System32. I have even tried deleting it with the super shredder, but the next day its back again. Can you please help me, cos this is driving me nuts......without you my computer would be a complete nightmare lol so please don't ever give up. Hugs Sue

Answer
Thanks for you nice comments, Sue. We hope we never have to give up! Since we don't know what you have installed on your system as far as anti-spyware programs, many of which can be set to "protect" your hosts file and prevent malware from altering it so that you are automatically redirected to malicious or questionable web site when you type in other web addresses.

First let's define what a HOSTS file is and why it exists in the first place:

The HOSTS file contains mappings (a list) of IP addresses to host names. This file is loaded into memory (cache) when you start or reboot Windows, then Windows checks the HOSTS file before it queries any DNS (Domain Name Servers) servers. This allows it the HOSTS file to override addresses in the DNS. This can speed up web browsing a little, although those with broadband or DSL connections won't notice any difference with or without a HOSTS file. Another feature of the HOSTS file is that it can block other applications from connecting to the Internet, or prevent software or cookies from certain domains from being downloaded provided the correct entries exist in the HOSTS file.

To computer experts the HOSTS file can be a powerful tool but for most of us it can be manipulated by questionable software programs (like spyware/adware/trojans) and cause problems. You don't need the HOSTS file at all your computer and your browser will work just fine without it.

To answer your question now (finally). We don't know what is causing your HOSTS file to reappear but we can tell you how to keep it from doing anything you don't want it to do. Open your HOSTS file with Notepad and hit your Ctrl + A keys and highlight the entire contents and then hit the delete key. Save the file as "HOSTS" (yes with the quotation marks). After you've done this, right-click on it and change the permissions on the file to "Read Only". How do you do this? See below:

Right click the file, choose "Properties". Near the bottom of the dialog window that appears you'll see a section called "Attributes" and two choices below it. One is "Read Only". Place a checkmark in the box next to Read Only and click "Apply" "OK". What this does is the same thing as having no HOSTS file does: it prevents any unsavory slyware applications from writing to the HOSTS file.

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